Preparations and Precautions for Backcountry Adventure

Whether you’re headed into Bryce Canyon Country’s backcountry for a day or a week, you’ll need to be prepared for anything. Here’s a list of some essentials to help you experience Bryce Canyon Country’s wilderness to the fullest.

Common Sense

  • Never hike or travel alone into the remote backcountry
  • Leave your itinerary with someone responsible (and let them know when you’ll be back)
  • Carry proper gear and supplies
  • Bring enough rations for the length of your trip
  • Stay hydrated and nourished with high-energy snacks
  • Don’t push yourself past your personal limits
  • Dress in layers (temperatures vary from day to day and with elevation changes)
  • Wear sunscreen (and bring extra!)
  • Check weather conditions and forecast before heading out
  • Plan ahead and be aware of potential trouble spots
  • Obtain proper permits (required for overnight hikes into GSENM)
  • Consider hiring an experienced backcountry tour guide
  • Carry a first aid kit

First Aid

First things first: pack a well-stocked wilderness first-aid kit so you’re equipped to deal with the unexpected. Include things like:

  • Prescription medications
  • Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses/contact solution
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Band-aids/ace bandages
  • Chapstick
  • Blister pads
  • Suntan lotion
  • Eyewash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellant

Other Tools of the Backcountry Trade

In addition to your first aid kit, your day pack should also include:

  • GPS, a current topographic map and a compass
  • Flashlight or headlamp (and working batteries)
  • Hiking poles (helpful when crossing shallow streams or climbing)
  • An emergency blanket or poncho
  • Pocket knife/multi-tool
  • Matches/lighter
  • Sewing kit
  • Duct tape
  • If you’re spending the night (or several), be sure to include enough personal hygiene items and changes of clothes to last the duration of your trip.

Overnight Gear

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag (temperature appropriate)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Lightweight camp stove/cookware
  • Water filtration/purification tablets
  • Rope or paracord for hanging food and securing tents


Extra clothing can be a lifesaver in case of an emergency. Dress in layers, and don’t forget your sunglasses and a rain poncho. We recommend:

  • Sweatshirt or fleece jacket
  • Lightweight windbreaker
  • Rain gear/poncho
  • T-shirt (made of cotton or moisture-wicking fabric)
  • Really good hiking shoes
  • Spare socks
  • Baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat to protect face and neck from the harsh sun

Food and Water

Park rangers recommend carrying one gallon of water per person, per day. Consider the length of your trip and how strenuous it is to determine how much food and water you will need. Wilderness water sources are unreliable, so carry enough with you to last the duration of your planned trip. High-energy snacks like granola, nuts, and energy bars are lightweight, easy to carry, and nutritious.

Flash Floods

The possibility of flash flooding is a real threat in the backcountry. Always check weather conditions and check the forecast before heading into Bryce Canyon Country’s slot canyons and remote wilderness.

Vehicle Safety

Check weather and road conditions before traveling along any of Bryce Canyon Country’s scenic backroads. Dirt roads may be impassable when wet. Have your vehicle checked to make sure it’s mechanically sound, fill up the tank, and carry a spare can of gas and a spare tire. There are no gas stations in the wilderness!

As we’ve said before, preparation is key when it comes to enjoying your wilderness activities in Bryce Canyon backcountry.

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